Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Philomena Lee, an Irish woman whose search for the son that she gave up for adoption in the 1950s, and is now a Hollywood film, meets with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. With her life story now the subject of an Oscar-nominated film, Philomena Lee is calling for government reforms in Ireland that would grant adopted people access to their adoption files. (AP Photo)
The real Philomena Lee meets Pope Francis
First Published Feb 05 2014 04:57 pm • Last Updated Feb 05 2014 04:57 pm

Vatican City • Philomena Lee, the Irish woman whose life story is the center of the Oscar-nominated film "Philomena," met Pope Francis on Wednesday.

The movie has earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture, and Stephen Frears, the film’s director, expressed hope Pope Francis would watch the feel-good film, which some critics say is rife with anti-Catholic undertones. But the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, recently quashed that speculation.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"The Holy Father does not see films," Lombardi said, "and he will not be seeing this one."

The movie tells the tale of Lee’s struggle to track down her son, who was taken from her in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in 1952, when she was 18. According to Lee’s account, the church actively blocked her efforts — and those of her son — to reunite.

Lee, 80, and her daughter, Jane Libberton, attended a private audience with Francis, and then Lee briefly met the pontiff.

"There is no way I could have ever imagined it," Lee said of meeting Francis. Asked if she felt resentment against the church, Lee said, "You can’t go through life being so unyielding; you’ve got to forgive."

Lee and Libberton are co-founders of The Philomena Project, which was created to lobby the church and the Irish government to open up records to make it easier for some of the estimated 60,000 women separated from their infant children to track one another down.

"I have always put great faith in the church and the good will to put the wrongs of the past right," she said in a statement after the meeting. "I hope and believe that his Holiness Pope Francis joins me in the fight to help the thousands of mothers and children who need closure on their own stories."




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.